Leading hospitality groups see strong April offset by inflation

24th May 2023 | Jack Oliver

Britain’s biggest managed pub, bar, and restaurant groups saw a strong period of trading in April, however growth still fell short of the current rate of inflation.

Leading hospitality groups enjoyed like-for-like and year-on-year sales increases of 6.4%, the latest Coffer CGA Business Tracker revealed.

The tracker is produced by CGA by NIQ in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM UK.

This was the seventh month of positive growth for the sector, and considerably higher than the figure of 1.4% recorded in March.

However, this was still lower than the rate of inflation, which currently sits at 7.8%.

April trading was boosted by public holidays including Easter and the beginning of the May bank holiday weekend. Good weather drew punters to pubs, which saw a like-for-like sales increase of 8.1% compared to the same period last year. Growth in restaurants was close behind, at 7.6%.

However, bars continued to struggle, with sales down 9.1%.

Managed hospitality groups are seeing their strongest results in the Capital, with April sales increasing 10.4% year-on-year in London, ahead of inflation. Growth in the rest of the country reached 5.8%.

Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM UK, said: “A full month without train strikes undoubtedly contributed to central London pubs and restaurants enjoying like-for-like sales growth of over 10% for the first time since the end of the pandemic. Cost pressures might be easing but they haven’t gone away and the ability to trade without interruption is crucial if the sector is to take full advantage of rising consumer confidence.”

Karl Chessell, director of hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA by NIQ, added: “April’s trading figures show the impressive resilience and appeal of managed restaurant, pub and bar groups in a very challenging market. It’s particularly pleasing to see the sustained recovery in London, where COVID restrictions took a heavy toll on hospitality. Consumers clearly remain eager to eat and drink out, and we can be optimistic that their spending will increase when household bills start to ease—but with inflation so high, real-terms growth remains elusive.”


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